Writing Romantic Women’s Fiction with Joan Leacott

“So, what do you write?” asks an author at the Desert Dreams conference in early June.

Uh…. Don’t you hate the way that question puts you on the spot? “I write romantic women’s fiction,” I reply.

“Uh… what’s that… exactly?”

As the current President of the Romantic Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA, I should know. Right? Well, I can’t answer for the entire chapter, but this is the way I write romantic women’s fiction. Your mileage may vary. 😉

The Romance Continuum

At one end, you’ve got the straight-up romance focused on a couple and the ups and downs of their love. On the other end, you’ve got pure women’s fiction about a woman’s journey through life from chaos to serenity.

Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF) has both a romance and a life struggle with the romance taking the lead.

Complex Lives

As in real life, a woman in RWF doesn’t live in a vacuum. She is surrounded by her family, her friends, her community. Relatives demand her time and affection. Friends share secrets and worries. Volunteering adds more pressure. And let’s not forget her work. Who has time for romance? Everybody!

My heroine Cathy in Above Scandal returns home to care for her sick mother. Across the street from her mother lives her old flame, the unknowing father of her daughter. The secret baby trope tangles with the child-as-parent syndrome.

Multiple Points of View

I love writing from the perspective of more that one character, the usual case of pure women’s fiction, or two characters as in pure romance. My secondary characters range in age from ten (Hayley in Above Scandal) to seventy-four (Horace in Sight for Sore Eyes) and share point-of-view with my main characters.

Complex Plots

Events are never as simple as they appear. Are they?

Sub-plots involving secondary characters braid with the romance plot to raise challenges for the main characters. Hayley’s out to find her father all by herself and Horace is trapped by his matchmaking scheme for his grandson.

Small-town Flare

All my stories take place in my fictitious town of Clarence Bay. Because it’s based on a real nearby town, authenticity is a twist on a Google search away. In Sight for Sore Eyes, Emma owns Finn’s Fine China and Gift Shoppe. The model for her shop is Huckleberry’s.

A small town isn’t a necessary element of RWF. That’s just me. 😉

What about You?

Complex, intriguing, authentic. Do your stories sound like my stories? Then I’d say you write Romantic Women’s Fiction. Welcome home!

Curious about Romantic Women’s Fiction? Join our RWF chapter party at Nationals. Chapter membership not required. All are welcome.

About Joan

Joan is a renaissance woman.

She is skilled in many arts—sewing, knitting crochet, cross-stitch, painting, and piano. The skill favored by her husband and son is cooking, especially pumpkin pie. She spends her winters in Toronto attending plays, ballets, aquafit and yoga classes. Whew! Her summers are spent on the shores of Georgian Bay relaxing on the deck with a romance novel and a glass of wine.  After she’s done her laps in the bay and installed the Seadoo battery. Whew! When does she have time to write her multi-generational contemporary romance novels? In every moment left over!

Stormy Wedding, her series of five short stories all taking place on the same four days in an ice storm is scheduled for release on October 11, 2017. Her online course Mastering Word for Fiction Writers is scheduled for release on July 20, 2017.

Visit her website at www.JoanLeacott.CA to read excerpts from Above Scandal and Sight for Sore Eyes. Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Sign up for her newsletter and get a free short story, the charming Second Chance Dress.

 

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What is Romantic Women’s Fiction?

Busy Student Writing Something

Why did you join RWF, a chapter of RWA?

When I first joined Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF), I was searching for a group that could help me in my writing journey. I wanted a group that wrote romance and women’s fiction as their genre of choice. I’d had an editor and an agent give me two conflicting statements—one said my story was a romance, the other said it was women’s fiction.

According to RWA, Romance has two basic elements in every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

According to various writers and Wikipedia, Women’s Fiction is about how a woman deals with the challenges in her life.

lover holding hand walking on the beach

From my view point, Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF) is “a marriage of romance and women’s fiction.” It’s a story of the heroine’s journey through life challenges, and along the way the hero enters, beginning the romantic dance. In the end, many of her issues are resolved and the romance ends with a happy conclusion. Life’s journey is easier when traveled as a couple.

In my research, I found some very good explanations for the meaning of “romantic women’s fiction.”

Edie Claire says, “Romantic Women’s Fiction is a hybrid of contemporary romance and   women’s fiction. It’s a popular type of book; readers often just don’t know what to call it!”

See Edie Claire, Julianne Maclean, and Mary Campsi’s YouTube presentation of its meaning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DbzVlVrMaE

From the savvyauthors.com, Cynthia Rachette, says “A new sub-genre is emerging that combines the ever popular romance and the tried and true   women’s fiction. Yes, it’s romantic women’s fiction.”

RWFlogo

RWF is here for you to learn more about writing. And our main focus is writing romantic women’s fiction.

Have you considered what sub-genre of romance that you write?

What are some thoughts you have on writing romantic women’s fiction?

For more in-depth information, please check out the links from my research below, in no particular order:

https://www.rwa.org/Romance

https://www.rwa.org/p/fo/st/topic=656&post=158050#p158050

https://www.rwa.org/p/fo/st/topic=553&post=55498#p55498

http://www.edieclaire.com/rwf

http://romanceuniversity.org/2009/11/06/is-it-romance-or-romantic-womens-fiction/

https://savvyauthors.com/blog/romantic-womens-fiction-a-new-face-to-old-style-womens-fiction-by-cynthia-racette/

http://www.findmeanauthor.com/womens_fiction_genre.htm

http://writersrelief.com/blog/2016/03/what-is-womens-fiction/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/agent-scott-eagan-on-romance-vs-womens-fiction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_fiction

Avery

Avery Cove is the current Vice-President of Communications for RWF. See her Facebook page for more of her thoughts.